‘Communicating Through Play: Techniques for Assessing and Preparing Children for Adoption’ by Bernie Stringer

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009 Book Review by Valerie Jackson

This is a book about the assessing and preparation of children who are deemed suitable for the process of adoption.

It is a brightly coloured flexible book with numerous photographs of children and adults in a variety of situations. It is a re-print and update of the original published in 1992. It identifies the importance of the Every Child Matters document for UK families and identifies how children’s rights and the training of social workers and therapists have changed over the ensuing years. The author acknowledges that there have been some very serious errors in adoption and fostering and in a way I suspect this book wishes to reclaim the good practice and disregard the bad.

The chapters are clearly set out, with each one summarised so that the reader is aware of what is in store. It is set out in clear print and the illustrations do not interfere with the reading of the text. The information is realistic and draws frequently on the most recent research and theories.

There is no need to read this book from cover to cover. I actually found it to be very interesting and informative. Responsibility was placed firmly on the shoulders of the adopters or foster carers. The emphasis was on partnership and cooperation where the child is the key player. Theoretical approaches linked to therapeutic techniques remained low-key and appropriate, suggesting the importance of reflecting either what the child has said or what the child has indicated through their behaviour. It emphasises the importance of openness and honesty even where adoptive parents may not always like a potential outcome.

I like this book. It is useful to have on the shelf where a family is contemplating walking into the world of fostered or adopted children.

Stringer, Bernie Communicating through Play: Techniques for assessing and preparing children for adoption

BAAF Publications

ISBN 978 1 90566465 83

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